Author

Douglas Kronaizl

Douglas Kronaizl is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Voters will decide 129 statewide ballot measures this November

Welcome to the Tuesday, September 27, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Voters will decide 129 statewide ballot measures this November
  2. Ryan v. Vance in Ohio’s U.S. Senate election
  3. Toss-up U.S. Senate, House, and gubernatorial elections in Nevada this year

Voters will decide 129 statewide ballot measures this November

We are 42 days—exactly six weeks—from election day. Voters in 36 states will decide on 129 ballot measures on Nov. 8, covering issues ranging from abortion to marijuana to election laws. 

Five measures were decided earlier this year, and three more are slated for December, bringing the total number of statewide ballot measures for 2022 to 137.

This total—137—is more than the number of measures in 2020, which was 129. But it is lower than the preceding decade’s (2010-2022) average of 164.

Citizens placed thirty measures on the ballot, the fewest this century. In 2020, there were 43 citizen-initiated measures.

One reason for this decrease might be record-high voter turnouts in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.

Of the 26 states that have some form of initiative or referendum, 22 based their signature requirements on turnout in those years’ elections. When turnout goes up, so does the number of signatures needed for citizen-initiated ballot measures.

According to the U.S. Elections Project, turnout in 2018 was at 50%, the highest since 1912, and 13 percentage points greater than in 2014. Presidential election turnout in 2020 was 67%, the highest since 1900, and seven percentage points greater than in 2016.

There are also fewer citizen-initiated measures, on average, during midterm years compared to presidential election years. From 2010 to 2022, presidential years had an average of 60 citizen-initiated measures, compared to 47 during midterm years.

Regarding the content of this year’s statewide measures, both citizen-initiated and legislatively-referred, we have identified trends including abortion, marijuana, and election policies. 

  • Abortion has appeared on statewide ballots since the 1970s. Since 2000, there have been just two general election cycles—2002 and 2016—without abortion-related statewide ballot measures.

This year, there six five abortion-related measures, a single-year record. Voters in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont will decide five in November. Kansas voters defeated a proposed measure in August.

Before 2022, the largest number of abortion-related measures on statewide ballots was four in 1986.

  • Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 19 states, 13 of which approved legalization through ballot measures.

In 2022, five more states—Arkansas, Maryland Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota—will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana.

  • Voters in 10 states will decide on measures to change election policies. Additionally, South Dakota decided on a measure in June, and Louisiana will decide on another in December.

Three of these states involve legislative proposals to change processes for citizen-initiated ballot measures. Other issues include early voting, voter identification, citizenship requirements, and campaign finance reporting.

Keep reading 

Ryan v. Vance in Ohio’s U.S. Senate election

Between now and Election Day, we will be taking a look at some of the most-watched races we are covering this year.

Today: Ohio’s open U.S. Senate election.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D) and J.D. Vance (R) are running for the seat. Incumbent Rob Portman (R) is retiring, making this one of six open U.S. Senate elections this year.

Ryan was first elected to the U.S. House in 2002, most recently winning re-election in 2020 following an unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Ryan is campaigning on revitalizing the state’s manufacturing industry, renegotiating foreign trade deals, and expanding affordable healthcare. 

Vance served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007, before working in venture capital in San Francisco. In 2016, Vance wrote Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir about growing up in Middletown, Ohio.

Vance is campaigning on returning manufacturing to Ohio, addressing nationwide immigration policies, and breaking up large technology companies. 

Two election forecasters rate the general election as Lean Republican and one rates it as Likely Republican. An average of two recent polls found 44% of respondents supporting Ryan and 48% supporting Vance with 8% undecided.

Former President Donald Trump (R) won Ohio by eight percentage points in 2016 and 2020. In U.S. Senate races, Portman won re-election in 2016 by 19 percentage points and Brown won in 2018 by seven percentage points.

Keep reading 

Toss-up U.S. Senate, House, and gubernatorial elections in Nevada this year

Today is the 21st day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we’re featuring Nevada, the Silver State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota, West Virginia
Week Five: Vermont

On the ballot in Nevada

At the federal level, Nevadans will elect one U.S. Senator and four U.S. Representatives. Ten state executive offices are up for election, including the governorship and four seats on the state board of regents.

All 42 seats in the state Assembly and 11 of the state’s 21 Senate seats are also up for election.

Nevada is one of 30 states holding state supreme court elections this year, with two seats on the ballot along with three on the state’s appellate court.

We are also covering elections in five cities—Carson City, Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Reno—and in Clark and Washoe Counties. This includes each county’s school district.

Redistricting highlights

The number of U.S. House districts in Nevada remained the same at four following the 2020 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines this year. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to compare each district. Here’s an example of what Nevada’s congressional map looked like before and after the 2020 census:

You can interact with our map comparison tools by visiting our Nevada redistricting page here.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Nevada’s U.S. Senators—Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen—are Democrats.
  • Nevada has three Democratic U.S. Representatives and one Republican.
  • Nevada has had a Democratic governor since 2019.
  • Democrats hold an 11-9 majority in the Senate and a 25-16 majority in the Assembly.
  • With a Democratic governor and majorities in both legislative chambers, Nevada is one of 14 Democratic trifectas, a status it has held since 2019. It is also one of three moderately vulnerable Democratic trifectas this year.
  • In addition to the governor, Nevada has a Democratic attorney general and a Republican secretary of state, making it one of nine states without a state government triplex.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, nine state legislative seats in Nevada, or 17% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, that party is all but guaranteed to win the seat.

Democrats are running for 44 seats up for election. Nine seats (17%) do not feature a Democratic candidate and a Republican is likely to win.

Nevada is one of three states where Republicans are contesting every seat up for election.

Key races

  • U.S. Senate: Incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto (D) faces former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) and three others. Three election forecasters rate the race as a toss-up.
  • Governor: Incumbent Steve Sisolak (D) faces former Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) and two others. An average of five recent polls showed Sisolak at 43% and  Lombardo at 42%.
  • 1st Congressional District: Incumbent Dina Titus (D) faces Mark Robertson (R) and one other candidate in the Las Vegas-area district. Joe Biden won the 1st District vote with 62% in 2020. Had the election been held under the new district lines, Biden would have won with 53% of the vote.
  • 3rd Congressional District: Incumbent Susie Lee (D) faces April Becker (R) in the Las Vegas-area district. One election forecaster rates this race as Tilt Democratic and two rate it as a toss-up.

Ballot measures

There are three measures on the ballot this year:

  • Question 1 would add language to the state constitution prohibiting the denial of rights on account of an individual’s race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.
  • Question 2 would incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour for all employees by 2024.
  • Question 3 would create top-five primaries where every candidate appears on the same primary ballot and the five with the most votes advance to a general election decided using ranked-choice voting. These changes would apply to congressional, state executive, and state legislative elections.

The Legislature put Questions 1 and 2 on the ballot, voting in favor of both in two successive sessions. If voters approve these measures in November, they become law.

Question 3 was placed on the ballot by voters. If approved in November, it would need to be approved again in 2024 to become law.

One hundred twenty-eight ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Seventy-nine were approved and 49 were defeated.

Voting

  • Nevada is one of eight states that conducts all-mail elections, meaning every registered voter is mailed a ballot ahead of the election. Completed ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 8, with tracking available here
  • The state also provides in-person voting opportunities with polls open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Nevada does not require voters to present identification while voting, in most cases. Identification may be required for first-time voters. Learn more here.
  • Early in-person voting begins on Oct. 22 and ends on Nov. 4.
  • If registering by mail, the deadline is Oct. 11, with mailed registrations postmarked by that date. The deadline to register online is Nov. 4. Nevada also allows same-day registration when voting in person on Election Day if the voter has a Nevada license or ID card.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!

Keep reading



7 states where minority party candidates outnumber the majority in state legislative elections

Welcome to the Friday, September 23, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Minority party in seven states is contesting more state legislative seats than majority party
  2. West Virginia voters to consider prohibiting state supreme court involvement in impeachment proceedings
  3. Catch up quick with the latest episode of On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

Minority party in seven states is contesting more state legislative seats than majority party

Forty-six states are holding state legislative elections this year, with 6,278 seats on the ballot.

In most states, the party that controls both legislative chambers is contesting more seats in November than the minority, or out-of-power, party.

Not so in Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Maine, and Washington.

Five states under Democratic control have more Republican candidates running in general elections. Two states under Republican control have more Democratic candidates.

To contest a seat means a candidate from a given party is running and could potentially win.

Overall, Democrats are contesting more seats than Republicans in 14 states. And Republicans are contesting more seats than Democrats in 32.

Nationwide, Democrats are contesting 4,687 seats, 75% of all seats up for election. Republicans are contesting 5,209, or 83% of seats.

In the chart below, if each party fielded a candidate in every race, that state would appear in the top right-hand corner of the visual. You can view state names and data using our interactive visual here.

The most balanced states—where both major parties are contesting almost every seat—are Colorado and Michigan.

The most lopsided states—those where one party is contesting far more seats than the other—are Massachusetts and Wyoming.

Both major parties are contesting at least 50% of seats up for election in 38 states. 

Democrats are contesting less than half of the seats up for election in seven states—Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming—and Republicans are contesting less than half of the seats up for election in Massachusetts.

Democrats are contesting every seat up for election in one state: Michigan. Republicans are contesting every seat in three states: Idaho, Nevada, and South Dakota.

Keep reading 

West Virginia voters to consider prohibiting state supreme court involvement in impeachment proceedings

Today is the 19th day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we’re featuring West Virginia, the Mountain State.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho
Week Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Arkansas, Minnesota

On the ballot in West Virginia

At the federal level, West Virginians will decide races in the state’s two U.S. House districts.

At the state level, 17 of the state’s 34 Senate seats and all 100 House seats are on the ballot.

Redistricting highlights

West Virginia lost one U.S. House district following the 2020 census, dropping from three to two.

The state also remade its state House maps. Before 2020, the state had 100 seats in 67 districts, with a mixture of single- and multi-member districts. During redistricting, the state created 100 single-member districts.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map tool allows you to compare each district. Here’s an example of what West Virginia’s congressional map looked like before and after redistricting:

Visit our West Virginia redistricting page to interact with our congressional and state legislative map comparison tools.

Partisan balance

  • West Virginia’s U.S. Senate delegation is split between Joe Manchin (D) and Shelley Moore Capito (R).
  • All three of West Virginia’s current U.S. Representatives are Republicans.
  • West Virginia has had a Republican governor since Gov. Jim Justice, originally elected as a Democrat in 2016, switched parties to become a Republican in 2017.
  • Republicans hold a 23-11 majority in the Senate and a 78-22 majority in the House.
  • With Republicans controlling the governorship and both legislative chambers, West Virginia is one of 23 states with a Republican trifecta.
  • West Virginia’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Republicans, making the state one of the nation’s 23 with a Republican triplex among those offices.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 33 state legislative seats in West Virginia, or 28% of those up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are running for 85 seats. Republicans will likely win the 32 seats (27% of those up for election) where no Democrats are running.

Republicans are running for 116 seats. Democrats will likely win the one seat (1%) where no Republicans are running.

Key races

  • House District 56: Incumbents Kayla Young (D) and Andrew Anderson (R) are running against each other. Both candidates currently represent the multi-member 36th District. According to CNalysis, in 2020, former President Donald Trump (R) would have received 54% of the vote in the new 56th District to President Joe Biden’s (D) 44%.
  • Senate District 7: Incumbent Ron Stollings (D) faces Mike Stuart (R). Stollings, first elected in 2006, won the 2018 election with 57% of the vote. The 7th District lines remain similar to their makeup before redistricting. Trump would have received 75% of the vote there in 2020 to Biden’s 23%.
  • Senate District 8: Incumbent Richard Lindsay (D) faces Mark Hunt (R). Lindsay was first elected in 2018, defeating then-incumbent Ed Gaunch (R) 50.3% to 49.7%. The new 8th District overlaps with some, but not all, of the old district. Trump would have received 61% of the vote in the new district to Biden’s 38%.

Ballot measures

West Virginia voters will decide four statewide measures on Nov. 8:

  • The No Court Authority Over Impeachment Amendment would prohibit state courts from intervening in impeachment proceedings and from reviewing any final judgments made. The amendment was introduced after four of the five members of the state supreme court were impeached in 2018 (the fifth resigned). The court, composed of temporary justices, blocked the Senate from holding impeachment trials of the impeached justices.

Thirty-three measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2018. Fourteen were approved and nine were defeated.

Voting

  • Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close and 7:30 p.m. local time.
  • West Virginia requires voters to present a valid form of identification while voting. Click here for more information from the secretary of state.
  • Early voting begins on Oct. 26 and ends on Nov. 5.
  • Absentee/mail-in voting is only available to voters who meet certain criteria. Complete ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received no later than Nov. 14.
  • The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 18. Voters can register online, in person, or by mail. West Virginia does not allow for same-day voter registration.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!

Keep reading 

Catch up quick with the latest episode of On the Ballot, our weekly podcast

On the latest episode of On the Ballot, our weekly podcast, host Victoria Rose talked with our experts about early voting, which kicked off in earnest today, Sept. 23, in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

We also dug into our 2022 Election Help Desk, a one-stop shop for voters looking for answers to the most frequently asked questions about the upcoming elections. The Help Desk has state-specific information on topics like:

Use the link below to listen to our most recent episodes and learn how to subscribe so you never miss an update!

Keep reading



U.S. House incumbent primary defeats reached highest point in two decades

Welcome to the Tuesday, September 20, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. U.S. House incumbent primary losses exceed last two redistricting cycles
  2. Candidates from both major parties are contesting all but two seats in Michigan’s state legislative elections
  3. Seven-state analysis shows attorney general candidates have raised $35.7 million, spent $32.2 million

U.S. House incumbent primary losses exceed last two redistricting cycles

Fifteen U.S. House incumbents—nine Republicans and six Democrats—lost in the 2022 primaries, more than in the post-redistricting election cycles in 2012 (13) and 2002 (8).

Six of these defeats were inevitable due to two incumbents being drawn into the same district and vying for the same nomination. Four of those defeated in incumbent v. incumbent primaries were Democrats, and two were Republicans:

Another trend involved Republican primaries in districts where the incumbents voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (R) in 2021 following the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach, six ran for re-election, and four of them lost. The remaining two advanced in top-two primaries.

In addition to the six incumbents defeated in incumbent v. incumbent primaries and the four defeated Republicans listed above, the remaining five incumbents defeated in primaries are listed below:

Keep reading 

Candidates from both major parties are contesting all but two seats in Michigan’s state legislative elections

Today is the 16th day of our 50 States in 50 Days series, and we are featuring Michigan, the Great Lakes State!

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana

Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho

Week Four: Kentucky

On the ballot in Michigan

At the federal level, Michigan voters will elect 13 U.S. Representatives. Two seats are open.

Twelve state executive offices are on the ballot, including the governor, attorney general, and eight seats on the state’s various higher education boards.

Two seats on the state supreme court and 10 intermediate appellate court positions are also up for election.

All 148 seats in the state Legislature are up for election: 38 in the state Senate and 110 in the state House. Sixty-six seats are open.

We are also covering municipal elections in Wayne County and Lansing, the state capital.

Click here for more information on Michigan’s races this year.

Redistricting highlights

Michigan lost one congressional district after the 2020 census, dropping to 13.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map tool allows you to compare each district. Here’s an example of what Michigan’s congressional map looked like before and after the 2020 census:

Visit our Michigan redistricting page to interact with our congressional and state legislative map comparison tools.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Michigan’s U.S. Senators—Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow—are Democrats.
  • Democrats and Republicans each represent seven of the state’s U.S. House districts.
  • Michigan has had a Democratic governor since Gretchen Whitmer (D) assumed office in 2019.
  • Republicans hold a 22-16 majority in the state Senate and a 56-53 majority in the state House.
  • With Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans holding majorities in both legislative chambers, Michigan is one of 13 states with a divided government, a status it has held since 2019.
  • Michigan’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all Democrats, making the state one of the nation’s 18 with a Democratic triplex among those offices.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, two state legislative seats in Michigan, or 1% of those up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are contesting every state legislative race. The party has fielded candidates for every seat in each election cycle since 2014.

Republicans are running for 146 of the seats up for election. Two seats (1%) do not feature a Republican candidate and will likely be won by Democrats.

Key races

  • Governor: Incumbent Gretchen Whitmer (D) faces Tudor Dixon (R) and five other candidates. If Whitmer wins, she will be the state’s first governor elected from the same party as the incumbent president since 1990. If Whitmer loses, it will be the first time an incumbent governor has lost re-election to a second term since 1962.
  • Attorney General: Incumbent Dana Nessel (D) faces Matthew DePerno (R) and two other candidates. Nessel was first elected in an open 2018 race, defeating Tom Leonard (R) 49% to 46%.
  • Secretary of State: Incumbent Jocelyn Benson (D) faces Kristina Karamo (R) and three other candidates. Benson was first elected in an open 2018 race, defeating Mary Treder Lang (R) 53% to 44%.
  • 7th Congressional District: Incumbent Elissa Slotkin (D), first elected in 2018, faces Tom Barrett (R) and one other candidate. If the 2020 presidential election had been held under the new district lines, President Joe Biden (D) would have received 49.4% of the vote in the 7th District to former President Donald Trump’s (R) 48.9%.
  • 8th Congressional District: Incumbent Dan Kildee (D), first elected in 2012, faces Paul Junge (R) and two other candidates. If the 2020 presidential election had been held under the new district lines, Biden would have received 50.3% of the vote in the 8th District to Trump’s 48.2%.

Ballot measures

Michigan voters will decide three statewide ballot measures on Nov. 8:

  • Proposal 1 would require state legislative and executive officials to file annual financial disclosure reports. The measure would also change the state’s legislative term limits from three 2-year terms in the House and two 4-year terms in the Senate to 12 combined years in the Legislature.
  • Proposal 2 would make a number of changes to the state’s voting laws such as allowing a signed affidavit as an alternative to a photo ID and authorizing voters to deposit absentee ballots at drop boxes.
  • Proposal 3 would create a constitutional right to reproductive freedom defined as “the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy,” including prenatal care, contraception, abortion, and miscarriage management, among other items.

Sixty-two ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Thirty-one were approved and 31 were defeated.

Voting

  • Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Michigan requires voters to present photo identification at the polls. For more information about voter ID requirements in Michigan, click here.
  • Available to all voters, early voting starts on Sept. 29 and ends on Nov. 7.
  • The deadline to register to vote online or by mail is Oct. 24. Michigan allows same-day voter registration in person.
  • Any voter can cast an absentee/by-mail ballot. The deadline to request a ballot is Nov. 4, which can be returned in person or by mail. Election officials must receive returned ballots by Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

Keep reading 

Seven-state analysis shows attorney general candidates have raised $35.7 million, spent $32.2 million 

Major party attorney general candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot have raised a collective $35.7 million and spent $32.2 million across the seven states holding elections this year covered by our partnership with Transparency USA.

Those states are Arizona, California, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. 

Democrats currently hold the office in four states and Republicans hold the office in three. Incumbents are running for re-election in each contest except for Arizona where Mark Brnovich (R) is term-limited.

Among the general election major party candidates, Democrats have outraised Republicans, while Republicans have outspent Democrats.

California contest had the most fundraising at $12.2 million, while Michigan had the least at $1.4 million.

California, again, had the most spending at $15.7 million, while Ohio had the least at $272,261.

Each states’ active candidates’ figures are shown below. Highlighted cells indicate which party outraised or outspent the other between Jan. 1, 2021, and the “As of” date in 2022.

You can take a deeper dive into these figures using the links below:

Thirty states are holding elections for attorney general this year. Democrats currently hold 16 of the offices up for election and Republicans hold 14.

Keep reading



General election early voting starts this week

Welcome to the Monday, September 19, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. General election early voting starts this week
  2. A look at Oregon’s open gubernatorial election
  3. Abortion at play in state supreme court and a ballot measure election in Kentucky this year

General election early voting starts this week

It might feel like the primary season just ended (because it did!) but, starting this week, voters across the country will start casting ballots in this year’s general elections.

Early voting kicks off on Sept. 23 for voters in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. On Sept. 24, it begins in Vermont and Virginia. 

On Sept. 29, voters in Illinois, Michigan, and North Dakota can head to the polls. Pennsylvania voters might also have the ability to vote early this month depending on their county. The exact start date varies based on when counties finalize their November ballots.

Another 35 states begin early voting in October, and two—Kentucky and Oklahoma—begin early voting in November.

Five states—Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi, Missouri, and New Hampshire—do not offer universal, in-person early voting but voters meeting certain eligibility requirements may qualify to vote early.

The average duration of early-voting periods is roughly 20 days, down from 21 during the 2020 election cycle, but can range from as long as 45 days (in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming) to two days (in Kentucky). 

Keep reading 

A look at Oregon’s open gubernatorial election

Between now and Election Day we will be previewing some of the top races we are watching here in the Brew. We are kicking things off today with a look at Oregon’s gubernatorial election.

Five candidates are running for the office. Gov. Kate Brown (D) is term-limited, making her one of eight governors not running for re-election this year.

Tina Kotek (D), Christine Drazan (R), and Betsy Johnson (I)  have received the most media coverage.

All three candidates previously served in the Legislature, Kotek as House Speaker, Drazan as House Minority Leader, and Johnson as a Democratic member of the Senate.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik described the contest as a three-way race, saying it “sets up an unusual situation where the winner may not need to crack even 40%” since only a plurality of votes is needed to win.

In the past three gubernatorial elections, the Democratic candidate has won by an average margin of six percentage points.

Two election forecasters currently rate the race as Lean or Tilt Democratic and one rates it as a Toss-up.

Oregon has had a Democratic governor since 1987, the second-longest streak in the country behind only Washington. The state has only elected one independent governor, Julius Meier, who served from 1931 to 1935.

Keep reading 

Abortion at play in state supreme court and a ballot measure election in Kentucky this year

Today is the 15th day of our 50 States in 50 Days series and we are featuring Kentucky, the Bluegrass State!

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota
Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana
Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, Idaho   

On the ballot in Kentucky

At the federal level, Kentuckians will elect one U.S. Senator and six U.S. Representatives.

Kentucky is not holding state executive official elections this year. Those offices will be on the ballot in 2023.

At the state legislative level, all 100 seats in the state House along with 19 of the state’s 38 Senate seats 

are on the ballot.

Four of the seven seats on the Kentucky Supreme Court and 14 seats on the Kentucky Court of Appeals are up for election. All of these races are contested, nonpartisan elections.

We are also covering local elections in Lexington and Louisville, which include offices like the mayor, county attorney, and local judges. Fayette and Jefferson County Public Schools also have seats on the ballot.

Click here for more information on Kentucky’s races this year.

Redistricting highlights

The number of U.S. House districts in Kentucky remained the same at six following the 2020 census.

Congressional and state legislative elections will take place under new district lines following the census. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to immediately see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here’s an example of what Kentucky’s congressional map looks like before and after the 2020 census:

You can interact with our congressional and state legislative map comparison tools by visiting our Kentucky redistricting page here.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Kentucky’s U.S. Senators—Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul—are Republicans, with Paul on the ballot this year.
  • Kentucky has one Democratic U.S. Representative and five Republicans.
  • Kentucky has had a Democratic governor since 2019.
  • Republicans hold a 30-8 majority in the state Senate and a 75-25 majority in the state House.
  • With a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both legislative chambers, Kentucky is one of 13 states without a state government trifecta, a status it has held since 1995.
  • While Democrats hold the governorship, Kentucky’s attorney general and secretary of state are Republicans, making it one of nine states without a state government triplex.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 63 state legislative seats in Kentucky, or 53% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are running for 68 of the seats up for election. Fifty-one seats (43%) do not feature a Democratic candidate and Republicans are likely to win.

Republicans are running for 107 seats. Twelve seats (10%) do not feature a Republican candidate and Democrats are likely to win.

Key races

  • Kentucky Supreme Court: four seats are up for election. Justices are officially nonpartisan, but our 2020 state court partisanship study found that two of the justices up for elections had a confidence score of Mild Democrat, and two had scores of Indeterminate. Of the three not on the ballot, two had scores of Mild Republican and one joined the court following our analysis.
    • In one race, in particular, Justice Michelle Keller, with a Mild Democrat score, faces Joseph Fischer, a Republican member of the state House. Fischer authored Kentucky’s law that restricts abortion after conception and sponsored Amendment 2 (see below).

Ballot measures

There are two measures on the ballot this year:

  • The No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment would amend the state constitution to say there is nothing in it creates a right to abortion or requiring government funding for abortion. Four states—Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia, and Louisiana—passed similar language as ballot measures before the Dobbs ruling. Kansas rejected a similar amendment this year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.
  • The Changes to Legislative Session End Dates and Special Sessions Amendment would remove specific legislative session end dates from the constitution and allow legislators to set their own end dates and call special sessions.

Between 1985 and 2020, 24 ballot measures appeared on Kentucky’s statewide ballots. Seventeen (71%) were approved, and seven (29%) were defeated.

Voting

  • Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.
  • Kentucky requires identification to vote. To read about the types of identification accepted, click here.
  • Early voting begins on Nov. 3 and ends on Nov. 5.
  • Kentucky allows absentee/mail-in voting but only if the voter meets certain requirements found here. The deadline to request a ballot is Oct. 25, which must be returned to election officials by Nov. 8.
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 11. Registration can be done in person, by mail, or online, with mailed forms postmarked by the deadline.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool! 

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A look at governors and veto-proof state legislative majorities from opposite parties

Welcome to the Friday, September 16, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Four states have a governor of one party and a veto-proof state legislative majority of the opposing party
  2. Revisit the top stories from this primary cycle with Heart of the Primaries
  3. Idaho to vote on amendment allowing legislative leaders to convene special sessions

Four states have a governor and a veto-proof state legislative majority from opposite parties

There are four states with a governor of one party and veto-proof legislative majorities of the opposing party: Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

But that number could change this year. There are three states where the party controlling the legislature could add new members to create a veto-proof majority opposing a governor of the other major party: North Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

When one party controls enough seats to overturn a veto without any support from the other party, a legislature has a veto-proof majority. These majorities strengthen the legislature’s hand when passing bills of which the governor disapproves. 

The conflict over policy can become especially pronounced when opposing parties control the legislature and the governor’s mansion.

Here’s a look at the partisan balance in the four states where, currently, that type of conflict is most likely:

And here is a breakdown of those three states that could gain a veto-proof legislative majority and have a governor of the opposite party after the 2022 elections. These are all states where the number of seats needed to gain a veto-proof majority is less than or equal to 10% of the total seats in the legislature.

North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is not up for election until 2024. In North Carolina, three-fifths of the General Assembly is required to override a gubernatorial veto.

Republicans have a 68-51 majority in the House and a 28-22 majority in the Senate. To gain a veto-proof majority, Republicans would need to gain four seats in the House and two in the Senate.

Vermont

Gov. Phil Scott (R) is running for re-election. In Vermont, two-thirds of the General Assembly is needed to override a veto.

Democrats currently hold a veto-proof majority in the Senate, with 21 seats, just above the 20 needed for a veto-proof majority. So in addition to defending those seats, Democrats would also need to add nine seats to its 91-46 House majority for veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

Wisconsin

Gov. Tony Evers (D) is running for re-election. In Wisconsin, two-thirds of the Legislature is required to override a veto.

Republicans have a 57-38 majority in the state Assembly and a 21-12 majority in the Senate. To gain veto-proof majorities, Republicans would need to gain nine seats in the Assembly and one in the Senate.

All 50 state legislatures have the constitutional authority to override gubernatorial vetoes. A state’s constitution also specifies how many legislators are needed to override those vetoes. Depending on the state, the vote threshold requirement applies either to all members elected to the chamber or to all members present.

  • Thirty-six states require a two-thirds vote from both chambers.
  • Seven states require a three-fifths vote.
  • Six states require a simple majority vote.
  • Alaska requires a two-thirds vote in a joint meeting of its legislative chambers.

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Revisit the top stories from this year’s primaries with Heart of the Primaries

The primary season is over (well, except for Louisiana!) and with it, our Heart of the Primaries newsletter. We sent out our final edition yesterday, Sept. 15, and wanted to share a huge thank you to all of you who subscribed! 

We hope you enjoyed the coverage of this year’s top stories from Democratic and Republican primaries.

Our latest edition revisited the key themes from this year’s primaries. Here’s a quick look at those takeaways:

In the Democratic edition, we covered the role large pieces of federal legislation—like Build Back Better and the Infrastructure Act—played in races. We also looked back at three active satellite groups that spent a combined $55 million in Democratic primaries across the country.

In the Republican edition, we broke down how former President Donald Trump’s endorsed candidates did in their primaries, especially those challenging GOP incumbents. We also touched on how possible 2024 presidential contenders emerged as a counter-force this year.

And for those of you with us from the very beginning, in our first edition, Nov. 18, 2021, on the Democratic side we covered Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the Texas gubernatorial race. And, for Republicans, we had our very first look at Trump’s endorsements of challengers running against GOP incumbents.

If you’d like to revisit that coverage and more, we have every edition of Heart of the Primaries ready and waiting at the link below. Thanks again for joining us!

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Idaho to vote on amendment allowing legislative leaders to convene special sessions

Today is the 14th day of our 50 States in 50 Days series and we are featuring Idaho, the Gem State!

    Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

    Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana

    Week Three: North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico

On the ballot in Idaho

At the federal level, Idahoans will elect one U.S. Senator and two U.S. Representatives. Seven state executive offices are also up for election, including the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.

All 105 state legislative seats are up for election, 35 in the Senate and 70 in the House.

Idaho is also one of 30 states holding state supreme court elections this year with two seats on the ballot.

Click here for more information on Idaho’s races this year.

Redistricting highlights

Following the 2020 census, Idaho was apportioned two congressional districts, the same number it had after the 2010 census.

State legislative elections will also take place under new district lines. Our side-by-side map comparison tool shows how redistricting affected those districts. Here’s an example of the state’s Senate map in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle:

You can interact with our map comparison tool by visiting our Idaho redistricting page here.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Idaho’s U.S. Senators—Mike Crapo and Jim Risch—are Republicans.
  • Idaho’s two U.S. House districts are also represented by Republicans.
  • Idaho has had a Republican governor since 1995
  • Republicans hold a 27-7 majority in the state Senate and a 58-12 majority in the state House.
  • With a Republican governor and majorities in both legislative chambers, Idaho is one of 23 Republican trifectas, a status it has held since 1995.
  • Along with the governor, the secretary of state and attorney general are also Republicans, making the state one of 23 with a Republican triplex.

Seats contested by only one major party

In 2022, 59 state legislative seats in Idaho, or 56% of all seats up for election, do not have major party competition. When a candidate from only one of either major party runs for a state legislative seat, the seat is all but guaranteed to be won by that party.

Democrats are running for 44% of all state legislative seats. Fifty-nine seats do not feature a Democratic candidate and are likely to be won by a Republican, guaranteeing Republican control of both chambers.

Republicans are running for all state legislative seats.

Ballot measures

Idahoans will decide two ballot measures on Nov. 8:

  • Proposition 1 would increase the income tax for individuals, trusts, and estates with incomes above $250,000 and couples with incomes above $500,000. It would also increase the corporate income tax rate from 6% to 8%. Revenue would fund public and charter schools.
  • Constitutional Amendment SJR 102 would authorize the House and Senate leaders to convene a special legislative session upon receiving a joint written request from 60% of the members in each chamber.

Sixty-five ballot measures appeared on statewide ballots between 1985 and 2020. Forty-eight were approved and 17 were defeated.

Voting

  • Polls open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.
  • Idaho requires voters to present identification while voting. For more information about Idaho’s voter ID requirements, click here.
  • Early voting is available to all voters beginning Oct. 24 and ending Nov. 4.
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 14.
  • All voters can vote absentee in Idaho. The ballot request deadline is Oct. 28. Ballots must be received by Nov. 8. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

Want to learn more about the elections you’ll be voting in this year? Click here to use our Sample Ballot Lookup tool!

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4.5% of state legislative incumbents who filed for re-election have lost in primaries

With the conclusion of this year’s primary election cycle, 216 state legislative incumbents—63 Democrats and 153 Republicans—lost to primary challengers, representing 4.5% of incumbents running for re-election.

These totals include data from the final three state legislative primaries held on Sept. 13 in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island:

  • Delaware: one Republican incumbent lost;
  • New Hampshire: seven incumbents lost: two Democrats and five Republicans; and,
  • Rhode Island: two Democratic incumbents lost.

These numbers will likely change. There are 12 Democratic and 24 Republican primaries featuring incumbents across these three states that remain uncalled in addition to three uncalled Democratic primaries featuring incumbents in states that held elections earlier this year.

This year, Republican incumbents lost at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 2,568 Republican incumbents who filed for re-election, 153 (6.0%) lost to primary challengers. For Democrats, 63 of the 2,273 who filed for re-election (2.8%) lost.

Forty-seven of these 216 incumbent defeats (22%) were guaranteed due to redistricting. When states redraw legislative lines, incumbents can oftentimes end up in a new district with other incumbents leading to incumbent v. incumbent primaries or general elections. Since, in these races, there are more incumbents running than nominations or seats available, at least one incumbent must lose.

You can view more information about state-specific and historic information regarding incumbent defeats by clicking “Learn More” below.



New York’s Democratic-held 3rd Congressional District draws attention following local Republican gains in 2021

Robert Zimmerman (D), George Devolder-Santos (R), Mekita Coe (People’s Party), and Melanie D’Arrigo (Working Families Party) are running in the general election for New York’s 3rd Congressional District on November 8, 2022.

Incumbent Tom Suozzi (D) is not running for re-election.

The 3rd District, located on Long Island including the northern portion of Nassau County and parts of Queens, voted for Democrats by an average margin of 13 percentage points between 2012 and 2020 before redistricting.

In 2021, Republican candidates won a number of local races in the district, including the defeat of Nassau County’s incumbent executive and winning the county’s open district attorney position.

As of June 2022, 40% of the district’s active voters were registered Democrats, 28% were registered Republicans, and 32% were either registered with some other party or unaffiliated.

Zimmerman, a Democratic National Committee member, owns a marketing communications company. Zimmerman said, “I’ll fight to defend abortion rights, stop gun violence, protect voting rights, address the climate crisis, and make Long Island and Queens more affordable for middle-class families.”

Devolder-Santos works in finance and investing and was the district’s Republican nominee in 2020. In a Candidate Connection survey submitted to Ballotpedia, Devolder-Santos said, “I will work to end the inflation crisis and lower gas prices … make New York’s Third Congressional District a safer place for everyone … [and] preserve the American dream for many generations to come.”



Uncontested races will result in 23 state legislative chambers where one party is guaranteed to win a simple majority

Welcome to the Tuesday, September 13, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. There are 23 state legislative chambers where one party is guaranteed to win a simple majority
  2. Virginia voters to elect 11 U.S. House members in November
  3. Three states round out this year’s primary calendar

There are 23 state legislative chambers where one party is guaranteed to win a simple majority

More than one-quarter of all state legislative chambers holding elections this year will have their partisan control decided before voters head to the polls. 

Of the 88 state legislative chambers holding elections this year, there are 23 chambers in which either Democrats or Republicans left enough seats uncontested that they effectively guaranteed majority control to the opposing party.

When only a Democrat or Republican runs for a state legislative seat, the candidate running is all but assured of being elected. When this happens, we call it a lack of major party competition. 

Heading into the 2022 elections, major party legislators control 7,341 of the nation’s 7,383 state legislative seats (99.4%).

In 2022:

  • Democrats are guaranteed simple majorities in three chambers; and,
  • Republicans are guaranteed simple majorities in 20 chambers.

When every seat in a chamber is up for election, the rate of major party competition alone can show us whether a simple majority is guaranteed.

But in states where only a portion of seats are up for election, we need to combine those figures with the partisan make-up of the seats not on the ballot.

For example, in the Ohio Senate, four seats are up for election this year where Republicans are running without Democratic competition. Adding that to the 15 incumbent Republican senators not up for election until 2024 equals 19 Republican seats, two more than the 17 needed for a majority in the chamber.

Of the 6,278 seats up for election this year, 2,656 (42.3%) are uncontested and have no major party competition. Democrats face no Republicans for 1,065 seats (17%), Republicans face no Democrats for 1,587 (25%), and four are guaranteed to independents because no major party candidates are running.

Use the link below to learn more about major party competition in this year’s state legislative elections.

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Virginia voters to elect 11 U.S. House members in November

Today is the 11th day of our 50 States in 50 days series, and we’re featuring Virginia, the Old Dominion.

Week One: Pennsylvania, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota

Week Two: California, Georgia, Texas, Montana

Week Three: North Carolina

On the ballot in Virginia

Virginia has 11 U.S. House districts, with incumbents running for re-election in each one.

Virginia is one of four states—along with Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Jersey—that hold state-level elections in odd-numbered years, so no state executive or state legislative offices are on the ballot this year.

At the municipal level, we are covering local elections in Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach.

Redistricting highlights

Virginia was apportioned 11 U.S. House districts following the 2020 census, the same number the state had following the 2010 census.

Congressional elections will take place under these new district lines. Our side-by-side map comparison tool allows you to see what redistricting looks like in your state. Here are the congressional maps in effect before and after the 2020 redistricting cycle in Virginia:

Visit our Virginia redistricting page to interact with our tool and compare Virginia’s congressional maps.

Partisan balance

  • Both of Virginia’s U.S. Senators—Tim Kaine and Mark Warner—are Democrats.
  • In the U.S. House, seven representatives are Democrats, and four are Republicans.
  • Democrats have a 21-19 majority in the state Senate, and Republicans have a 52-47 majority in the House of Delegates, making Virginia one of three states where no single party controls both legislative chambers. Both chambers are next up for election in 2023.
  • Virginia’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) assumed office in 2022 after defeating former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in 2021.
  • Virginia is one of 13 states with a divided government, where no single party controls both the governorship and legislature. The state had a Democratic trifecta from 2020 to 2022.
  • Along with the governor, Virginia’s secretary of the commonwealth and attorney general are also Republicans, making the state one of 23 with a Republican triplex among those offices.

Key races

Ballot measures

There are no statewide ballot measures in Virginia this year.

A total of 33 ballot measures have appeared on statewide ballots in Virginia between 1996 and 2020. Voters approved 29 and defeated four.

Voting

  • On Nov. 8, polls in Virginia will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Voters in Virginia must present identification at the polls, either with or without a photo. A list of accepted documents can be found here.
  • Early voting begins on Sept. 24 and ends on Nov. 5.
  • The voter registration deadline is Oct. 17.
  • The deadline to request an absentee/mail-in ballot is Oct. 28, and a returned ballot must be postmarked on or before Nov. 8 to be counted. The voter and a witness must sign the absentee/mail-in ballot, but state law does not specify any provision allowing for signature verification. To check the status of your ballot, click here.

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Three states round out this year’s primary calendar

Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island are holding this year’s final partisan primaries today, Sept. 13. 

In terms of congressional races, New Hampshire is holding Democratic and Republican primaries for U.S. Senate. Collectively, these three states have four U.S. House districts. Both of New Hampshire’s districts are holding Republican primaries, and one of Rhode Island’s two districts is holding a Democratic primary.

All three states are holding elections for state executive offices. In Rhode Island, this includes a Democratic gubernatorial primary, Gov. Daniel McKee’s (D) first since assuming office in 2021 after former Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) resigned to become the U.S. secretary of commerce. 

At the state legislative level, there are 402 districts holding elections. In each of the three states, less than 20% of all possible primaries are contested. Nationwide, 21% of all possible primaries were contested this year. In these three states, there are 71 Democratic primaries and 75 Republican primaries.

We will have election results available at the link below. If you have elections coming up, use Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup to see what’s on your ballot, and bring your choices to the polls with our My Vote app!

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Rate of contested state legislative primaries increases in New Hampshire

New Hampshire has 89 contested state legislative primaries this year, 20% of the total number of possible primaries, and a 31% increase from 2020.

The rate of contested primaries this year is at its highest point compared to the four preceding election cycles.

Of the 89 contested primaries, there are 20 for Democrats and 69 for Republicans. For Democrats, this is down from 30 in 2020, a 33% decrease. For Republicans, the number is up 82% from 38 in 2020.

One hundred sixteen incumbents face primary challenges, representing 38% of all incumbents running for re-election. This is higher than in 2020 and 2018, but lower than 2016 when 41% of incumbents faced contested primaries.

Of the 116 incumbents in contested primaries, 26 are Democrats and 90 are Republicans.

Overall, 904 major party candidates—430 Democrats and 474 Republicans—filed to run. All 400 House and 24 Senate seats are up for election.

One hundred twenty-six of those seats are open, meaning no incumbents filed. This guarantees that at least 30% of the legislature will be represented by newcomers next year, the largest such percentage since at least 2014.

New Hampshire has had a Republican trifecta since 2020 when the party won control of both chambers of the legislature. Republicans currently have a 203-179-1 majority in the House with 17 vacancies. The party has a 13-10 majority in the Senate with one vacancy.

New Hampshire’s trifecta status has changed four times since 2010.

New Hampshire’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Sept. 13, the 17th and final statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

Additional reading:



4.7% of state legislative incumbents who filed for re-election have lost in primaries

So far this year, 205 state legislative incumbents—58 Democrats and 147 Republicans—have lost to primary challengers.

Across the 43 states that have held primaries, 4.7% of incumbents running for re-election have lost, an elevated level of incumbent losses compared to previous cycles.

These totals include data from state legislative elections held in Massachusetts on Sept. 6. No incumbents lost to primary challengers but eight races featuring incumbents—seven Democrats and one Republican—remain uncalled.

This year, Republican incumbents have lost at a higher rate than Democrats. Of the 2,366 Republican incumbents who filed for re-election, 147 (6.2%) have lost to primary challengers. For Democrats, 58 of the 2,019 who filed for re-election (2.9%) have lost.

Forty-six of these 205 incumbent defeats (22%) were guaranteed due to redistricting. When states redraw legislative lines, incumbents can oftentimes end up in a new district with other incumbents leading to incumbent v. incumbent primaries or general elections. Since, in these races, there are more incumbents running than nominations or seats available, at least one incumbent must lose.

Of the 43 states that have held primaries so far, 11 have Democratic trifectas, 21 have Republican trifectas, and 11 have divided governments. Across these 43 states, there are 5,679 seats up for election, 90% of the nationwide total.

The figures for 2022 will likely increase. In addition to the uncalled races in Massachusetts, there are two other uncalled primaries featuring incumbents: one Democratic and one Republican.